Articles Posted in Fatal Trucking Accidents

Large commercial vehicle such as semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, dump trucks, and big-rigs pose a serious threat to motorists when they are not operated in a safe and responsible manner. Indeed, on March 11, 2019, a fatal Maryland truck accident claimed the lives of two people. According to a recent news report, the truck driver responsible for causing that accident now faces criminal charges, including manslaughter, for his role in causing the accident.

The accident occurred near the intersection of MD 24 and Ring Factory Road, at around 7 a.m. Evidently, there were several vehicles stopped at the intersection during rush hour traffic. However, as the truck approached, it did not slow down. The truck ended up rear-ending several of the stopped cars, which then caused a chain-reaction accident involving other nearby motorists. In all, the accident involved a total of 12 cars and trucks. Two vehicles were pinned underneath the semi-truck when it caught fire. A local businessman and a young boy were killed in the collision. Four others, including the young boy’s mother, were seriously injured.

After the fatal accident, police launched an in-depth investigation. They quickly determined that the truck driver was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, investigators believe that he may have been using his cell phone at the time of the accident. Thus, among the charges the truck driver faces are four counts of causing serious injury while using a cell phone.

In March of this year, a Maryland traffic accident involving a semi-truck killed two and injured four. According to a recent news report covering the tragic accident, the driver was using his cellphone while driving a truck in rush-hour traffic one morning. Evidently, the truck crashed into a line of other vehicles, bursting into flames as it came to a stop. Debris from the accident covered the highway for at least a quarter of a mile, and the road was subsequently closed for most of the day.

Two individuals were tragically killed as a result of this crash: a 65-year-old man and a 7-year-old boy. Additionally, four others were seriously injured. Law enforcement recently charged the truck driver responsible for the fatal accident with two counts of gross negligence manslaughter by motor vehicle, two counts of criminal negligence manslaughter by motor vehicle, and four counts of causing serious injury while using a cellphone while driving. The case is still under investigation.

Unfortunately, distracted driving and truck crashes are not uncommon. Truck drivers often drive for long hours, leading to boredom or fatigue, which truck drivers may attempt to remedy by looking at their phone. Other common causes of distracted driving include watching television, talking to passengers, eating, grooming, and texting.

Despite strict DUI laws, Maryland drunk driving crashes and fatalities continue to occur at a startling rate. Maryland’s Drunk Driving Reduction Act went into effect in 2016. Under the Act, anyone convicted of driving under the influence must have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. The device prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has a certain level of alcohol, based on a breath test. However, despite this, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation, in 2018 there still were about 7,000 crashes involving the driver’s use of alcohol or drugs in the state.

New information was uncovered in a recent DUI crash involving a 23-year-old commercial truck driver who killed seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire. According to a news report, the driver, who crossed a double-yellow line on a highway, was high on drugs and reportedly was reaching for a drink just before the crash took place. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a report that was obtained by the media. He had previously been arrested for drug-related and driving offenses in five other states. His license commercial license should have been suspended the month prior due to another drunk driving charge, according to the state motor vehicle department.

The report showed that the driver tested positive for a narcotic or amphetamine, which rendered him incapable of safely operating the truck. The report also indicates that the driver admitted to investigators to reaching for a drink before the crash. The crash revealed that the driver was first charged with drunk driving in 2013 in Massachusetts, and his license was suspended, but he was still able to obtain a commercial license. An investigation into the crash showed that in addition to the driver, over 1,600 Massachusetts drivers should have had their licenses revoked due to out-of-state infractions, but were not processed.

Truck drivers spend almost their entire working lives behind the wheel. Naturally, truck drivers can get bored or fatigued on long trips. Too often, however, truck drivers who find themselves bored or tired engage in distracting behavior to stay awake, increasing the risk of causing a Maryland truck accident. For example, typical examples of distracting behavior are talking on the phone, texting friends or loved ones, watching television, playing games, or working on crossword puzzles.

When a truck driver causes an accident as a result of being distracted, anyone injured in the accident can pursue a claim for financial compensation against the driver through a Maryland truck accident lawsuit. To succeed in a truck accident lawsuit, an injury victim must be able to show that the trucker violated a duty of care that he owed to the plaintiff. They must also establish that the driver’s breach of this duty was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

Earlier this month, a truck driver was arrested and charged with criminal vehicular homicide after he was involved in a truck accident that killed roadside construction worker. According to a local news report covering the tragic accident, the collision occurred back in October, 2018, when the semi-truck rammed into the back of a pick-up truck that was pulling a trailer. As a result of the crash, the trailer disconnected from the truck and collided with two construction workers. One of those men was killed, the other seriously injured.

Truck drivers are trusted to operate some of the most dangerous vehicles on the road. And while most tractor-trailer drivers take their job seriously and would not intentionally do anything to put themselves or other motorists at risk, there are some exceptions. Some semi-truck drivers place more importance in getting to their destination quickly than getting there safely.

There are many causes of truck accidents. However, distracted and drowsy driving are two causes that are disproportionately represented among all fatal Maryland truck accidents. Truck drivers are compensated by the mile, so the more mileage a driver can cover in a day, the more money they will make. As a result, some drivers ignore the signs of fatigue or try to delay tiredness from setting in by taking both legal and illegal substances.

While it is not against the law for a truck driver to have a legal substance such as caffeine in their system, it can contribute to the driver feeling jittery and may impact their judgment. In addition, when the effects of the caffeine wear off, the driver may experience a significant drop in their energy level, increasing the likelihood that they will doze off while behind the wheel.

Those who have been injured in a serious Maryland personal injury accident allegedly caused by a government employee can generally pursue a claim against the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). While the federal government was originally immune from civil liability, the FTCA acts as a waiver of governmental immunity in certain situations. However, if an accident victim is unable to establish that their claim falls under the FTCA, then a court will likely dismiss the case on the grounds of immunity.

The Feres doctrine is an exception to the FTCA. The doctrine was essentially created by the United States Supreme Court in the case, Feres v. United States. Specifically, the doctrine holds that the United States cannot be held liable by military personnel who are injured while on active duty (and not on furlough) and are injured as a result of another military personnel’s negligence. The practical effect of the Feres doctrine is that those on active military duty cannot pursue a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the United States if another service member’s negligence caused their injuries.

Application of the Feres doctrine can result in seemingly unfair results; however, before the government can rely on the doctrine, it must prove that each of the elements is met. A recent fatal traffic accident provides an example of a situation where the Feres doctrine may not be appropriate.

After a Maryland truck accident, anyone injured in the accident can pursue a claim for compensation against any party they believe was responsible for causing their injuries. In many truck accident cases, both the truck driver as well as the driver’s employer can be named as a defendant.

To establish liability against a trucking company, the plaintiff must be able to show that the truck driver was acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the accident. Naming a truck driver’s employer as a defendant can be critical to an injury victim’s ability to fully recover for their injuries because the damages sustained in a serious Maryland truck accident may exceed the personal insurance limits of an individual truck driver.

Under Maryland law, when a plaintiff names multiple defendants in a lawsuit, the jury will first determine the total damages suffered by the plaintiff. Then, the jury will be asked to assign a percentage of fault to each party, including the plaintiff.

When one thinks of a Maryland truck accident, images of an intoxicated, sleepy, or distracted truck driver often come to mind. And while it’s true that these account for a large number of Maryland truck accidents, equipment failure is also a major – and often overlooked – cause of these serious accidents.

Like all vehicles that are licensed to operate on Maryland’s public roads, semi-trucks must pass certain safety inspections. The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that all trucks are inspected at least annually. There are six types of DOT annual inspections, some being much more thorough than others. Generally, these inspections review the fitness of the driver as well as the vehicle. In addition to the DOT annual inspection, motor carriers are responsible for performing periodic vehicle inspections. These periodic inspections focus on the various components of the vehicle, such as the braking system, steering system, lights, exhaust, as well as the tires and rims.

When a semi-truck or other large commercial vehicle is not properly inspected, the chance of the vehicle being involved in a serious Maryland car accident drastically increases. These accidents can have a devastating impact on nearby vehicles. Depending on the nature of an equipment failure, there may be several parties that can be held liable for an accident victim’s injuries.

The mass production of cars that are equipped with autopilot technology is now a reality. For the most part, the technology works well and is generally accepted to be safe. However, many are concerned that the increased prevalence of these vehicles will result in a spike in Maryland truck accidents.

In fact, earlier this month, another fatal collision involving a Tesla vehicle occurred on a Florida highway. According to a recent news report, the crash occurred when an eastbound semi-truck came to a stop at a stop sign. After the semi-truck entered the intersection in preparation to make a left-hand turn, a south-bound Tesla crashed into the side of the truck. Apparently, neither the car’s autopilot technology nor the driver of the Tesla saw the truck enter the highway.

The collision sheared the roof off of the Tesla, and the car continued in auto-pilot mode for another 500 yards before coming to a complete stop. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders.

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When many people think of expert testimony, they envision a professor-like witness discussing complex scientific or medical issues in a Maryland medical malpractice case. However, expert witnesses may be used in all types of personal injury cases, including Maryland truck accident cases.

Under Maryland Code, Rule 5-702, expert testimony may be admitted when the proponent of the evidence can show that “the testimony will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.” In a recent federal appellate case, the court determined that a state trooper properly testified as an expert witness.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s recitation of the facts giving rise to the case, the plaintiff was a truck driver who was seriously burned after another truck driver inexplicably crossed over the center median and collided head-on with the plaintiff’s truck. The collision caused a major explosion, which resulted in the death of the at-fault truck driver as well as the plaintiff’s serious burns.

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